Breasts across British Columbia

A TV producer's lewd comments about a politician's daughter-in-law are broadcast on Election Night.

By Jack Boulware

Published December 4, 2000 8:30PM (EST)

Canada's broadcasting world was rocked on Election Night last week when a television producer's comments about the breasts of a politician's daughter-in-law were accidentally beamed out across British Columbia. A VTV station in Vancouver was quickly besieged with calls from outraged citizens. Although the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. formally apologized to Juliana Thiessen Day, who is married to the son of Canadian Alliance leader Stockwell Day, the Alliance Party says that's not good enough and is demanding that the anonymous producer come forth and apologize in person.

This stormy tale of intrigue began on Canada's Election Night, as Stockwell Day took the podium before a crowd of supporters in Penticton, about 150 miles east of Vancouver. Standing beside the politician were his son, 28-year-old Logan Day, and Logan's beautiful wife, Juliana Thiessen Day, a 20-year-old former Ms. Canadian Universe. The Canadian press corps aimed their cameras and adjusted audio levels, anticipating another evening of unexciting political rhetoric. But just as the elder Day began to speak, an unidentified CBC producer said into his microphone: "This is Logan Day's wife. I've never met her, but apparently she's got tits that'd stop a --"

An alert technician quickly cut off the audio feed, but not before the comments were broadcast to the living rooms of western Canada. The producer apparently believed he was speaking only internally, on a media pool feed. Canadian families expecting another speech from Stockwell Day were forced to instead consider the breasts of his daughter-in-law.

The VTV station in Vancouver was immediately deluged with callers. "I got 40 phone calls in 10 minutes," news director Lynn Raineault told the National Post. "But the language that went to air was beyond our control."

Top executives from the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. nervously discussed the incident behind closed doors for an entire day, before issuing an official apology about the "inexcusable language." The statement added, "The comments should not have been made and they should not have been broadcast."

CBC News executive director Tony Burman then wrote a personal note to Logan and Julianna Thiessen Day to apologize: "On behalf of the entire CBC Television News Service, please accept my sincerest apology for the inexcusable language that was inadvertently aired during the broadcast on VTV ... Vulgar language such as this is not permissible in any circumstance, but the fact that this happened in a public setting is particularly embarrassing."

But despite the CBC's gush of statements and letters, the Canadian Alliance insists the unnamed employee should personally appear before Juliana Thiessen Day, look her in the eye instead of her breasts, and apologize.

"I am not a hysterical woman," Alliance deputy leader Deborah Grey frothed to the National Post. "I am not going to go stand on a street corner and shriek for this guy to be dismissed ... but this guy should phone her up and go see her. That would be nice. That is where he ought to be looking -- straight in the eye -- and say, 'Juliana, I am really sorry.'"

CBC officials say they are conducting an internal disciplinary hearing about the matter.

Logan Day told reporters that his wife, who is six months pregnant, was too distraught to give any public statement, but she was definitely upset that the comment was about her appearance.

"She should never, ever have been mocked because of the way she looks during her pregnancy," said the gallant young husband.

Jack Boulware

Jack Boulware is a writer in San Francisco and author of "San Francisco Bizarro" and "Sex American Style."

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